When my best friend returns from Boots laden with bags, I know he is waging war. Last time it was his scheme to combat his under-eye puffiness. Typically of his sex when it comes to appearance, he will decide to rid himself of a problem seemingly on a whim and go to buy all related apparel in the nearest Boots, where after he will apply vigorously, fail abysmally, and never make the attempt again. So when he returned from work last month briefcase in one hand, Boots bag in the other, I knew he was up to something. It transpired that he had decided he wanted to rid himself of blackheads.
He had bought a stick with a little eye at the end, designed to push around the pore and force the little blighters out of their happy existence. He had bought nose strips which promised to suck at them all simultaneously and pull away to reveal empty pores, like a magic wax strip. He had also bought a scrub which promised a decline in blackheads in days. I watched the fruitless efforts thinking him a fiend, for one ought never attempt such tomfoolery as the removal of blackheads without consulting someone in the know. Had he done so, he would have taken note of the following:
Blackheads (open comedones) are pesky, but not as problematic as the spot they may turn into if left to their own devices, or approached from the wrong angle. They are not the result of dirt (the black appearance is due to oxygen in the air reacting with the occluded sebum in the pore), nor can they simply be combated with a quick treatment. Like all skin-related problems, they require patience, time and dedication to right.
All very interesting, I imagine you are thinking, but get to the problem-solving part. Well, the answer is manifold. If you suffer badly, invest in a good skincare range. Blackheads, whiteheads and spots are all really part of the same problem – the blackhead is just the embryonic spot, unless cleared.
You want to firstly make sure you are cleansing properly and not inflaming an already-clogged pore. Try Sarah Chapman’s Ultimate Cleanse coupled with her brilliant Professional Cleaning Mitt twice daily and ensure you are getting in all the nooks and crannies blackheads love to hide in. Tone with an anti-microbial toner – I love Dr Wendy’s Gentle Toner.
Once you’ve done that, do moisturise but don’t overload – use a lotion, instead. Comvita’s Protective Day Lotion, which is packed with natural active ingredients designed to protect and hydrate while combating excess sebum, is great. Pop a little non-drying topical treatment on particularly bad bits, such as Peter Thomas Roth’s Acne Spot and Area Treatment. Those steps used daily should make a difference. If you still have a build up try gently squeezing in a rolling motion around blackheads to encourage them out, or have a facial – Dermalogica’s is reasonable and targeted to achieve results.
Remember, all skincare requires gentle diligence – you should see results, but don’t expect miracles. I think that rules out nose strips and excavating tools, thank heavens.